Tiger debuted his "breakup goatee" (left) at the Masters press conference on Monday. At right, a shot of Woods in mid 2009, sporting a cleaner cut face in more innocent times. Photo: Getty | MCT
A reformed Tiger Woods debuted his new image at Monday's Masters press conference
, shedding some insight on his improved self: "When you live a life where you're lying all the time, life is not fun," he told reporters. "Now that's been stripped all away and here I am. And it feels fun again."
There he was indeed, looking calm, cool and collected...with a Larry the Cable Guy
-esque whisp of facial hair.
As the golf legend prepares for Thursday's first round at Augusta National, we couldn't help but wonder if the trendy, bad-boy goatee
, not to mention the noticeably lighter and brighter Nike ensembles he has sported during practice rounds this week, were simply part of the new "fun" Tiger -- or was this just another ill-fated publicity attempt by Woods' camp to craft a less arrogant, more mature and "relatable" Tiger?
One that says: "I regret sleeping with porn stars -- sort of?" in an effort to garner cheers from the galleries when he tees off tomorrow?
Because, in our humble opinion, the whole look just isn't working.
Woods' facial hair endured through Wednesday's Masters practice rounds.
We would be more understanding if Tiger's new half-beard was in fact a means to boycott Gillette
, which was one of the first brands to bench Woods
after news of his extra-marital affairs surfaced. Apart from that, there is no legitimate excuse for the weird facial hair. It looks contrived and even a bit dirty, which makes us think of all the dirty things that the old Tiger was up to.
And frankly, it just makes poor Tiger look too much like the man he is trying so hard to not
"I think the goatee looks kind of low rent," says image consultant and author Frances Cole Jones
, who wrote the book The Wow Factor
. "It makes you think of the kind of girls he was with, when I imagine it was really meant to make us think he was more relaxed, in the hopes that we would become more relaxed. But it backfired, because he's still disgraced in our eyes."
So what is Tiger to do? "He needs to shave
," says Jones. "If your life is a mess, you try to look pulled together. If it's a man, get a haircut
Grooming guru Anthony Sosnick
, founder and CEO of shaving and skincare brand Anthony Logistics for Men
, agreed. "Both good guys and bad guys spend a lot of time primping, but the goatee definitely lends itself to an edgier bad boy image whereas a cleaner cut lends itself to a more honest face."
One move that was
Tiger's decision to forego his usual dark golf pants and shirts this week in favor of pastel shirts and khaki pants. "The bad guy wears black, and right now the bad guy is [Sandra Bullock
's soon-to-be ex husband] Jesse James
," Jones tells StyleList. "The lighter-colored clothes got him away from the Jesse James vibe, which was a good move."
But another explanation for the mini-makeover, according to one of our resident experts, has less to do with the public's perception of the disgraced athlete and more to do with how he wants to see himself -- much the same way a woman will get a "breakup haircut," like Jennifer Love Hewitt did last week
"It's quite possible that he's reinventing himself from the inside out -- that this is an external way to announce he really is changing," Susan Stiffelman
, a marriage therapist and author in Malibu, Calif., tells StyleList. "It could very well be that this is part of his own journey, that he wants to look in the mirror and see someone different, and wants his wife to see someone other than the guy who did these terrible things -- the rest of us be damned."
Far-fetched maybe, but given the constraints of his public sponsorships -- Woods reportedly lost anywhere up to $35 million in sponsorship deals after news of the scandal broke -- it's actually one of the tamer things Tiger can do to signal an internal change.
"A full beard would be a little over-the-top," quips Stiffelman. "We should be saying thank you to him for not growing a moustache
Now that would be dis-tressing
! Tell us what you
think of Tiger's new facial hair.
And maybe he'll try the baldazzle trend
Is there a Tiki Barber divorce in the works? See more stories of infidelity like Tiger's here.